The Burning Plain/Fast and Furious
Writer and Director Guillermo Arriaga
weaves the seemingly unconnected tragedies of Sylvia (Charlize Theron), a
single adult woman who can’t seem to get enough meaningless sex, but is
obviously depressed and trying to run away from herself, and Gina (Kim
Basinger), an unhappily married woman whose husband is no longer interested
in her after her breast cancer surgery.
So, unsurprisingly, she seeks solace elsewhere, but that has family
repercussions beyond her imagining, as her teenage daughter Mariana
(Jennifer Lawrence) discovers the deceit but doesn’t know how to confront
her mother. Then there’s the
prepubescent girl, Maria (Tessa la Norvind), who’s happily living with her
Dad, until he’s in a plane crash and solemnly charges his best friend from
his hospital bed to go find her Mom, who abandoned them when Maria was only
two weeks old. As a writer,
Arriaga concentrates on the effects of sudden tragedy, and as a Director, he
carefully layers his stories so that the viewer has to discover the
connection between the characters. “The
Burning Plain” is strong on emotional impact, cavalier with nudity, and
centered around sexuality, but happiness seems fleeting and elusive for
In “Fast And Furious” (now
available on dvd), sexuality is more paraded----skinny models in skimpy
outfits---but it’s more eye candy than seriously utilized.
The same is true with the inordinate musculature of the male
characters, primarily Vin Diesel, who looks like steroids are still legal.
As a character, he either does the tough-guy laser-eyes, or he
wrinkles his brow. That’s the
extent of his acting range. But,
it’s not about his emotionality so much as it is about the muscle cars,
the drivers in the souped-up, modified, racers, who wreak havoc on the
public roadways, and, if they’re good enough, get to run drugs for the big
Mexican cartel. Even the women
are judged by their testosterone----how well can they jump from a speeding
car onto a moving tanker truck? Unlike
“The Burning Plain,” this is not about plot intricacy, it’s simply
petal-to-the-metal, adrenalin-laced action scenes.
The plot is merely a vehicle, in the one movie where a “real” car
is never merely a vehicle.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace